Count Me In


Premieres Thursday, November 3 at 8pm on WTTW11

The first in-depth documentary about this burgeoning national movement, Count Me In tells the compelling stories of regular Chicagoans who are rolling up their sleeves to make an impact in their neighborhoods. Count Me In highlights this direct democracy model, dubbed "participatory budgeting," that provides the platform for ordinary Chicagoans to have direct say over local public projects and monies.

The film shows residents pitching ideas like street repairs, bike lanes, or community gardens. Projects get researched, proposals crafted, and at the end, the entire community is invited to vote.

But power-sharing happens slowly in Chicago — city agencies are slow to warm to the process and only a handful of aldermen have been willing to try participatory budgeting, even though the vast majority of residents find it empowering and a great tool for community building. Participatory budgeting is rapidly spreading across the country — even the White House recently made it one of its key recommendations for open government!

Overall, Count Me In shows that ideas about open government are not just for policy makers, but it offers an engaging, unvarnished look at what it will take to revitalize democracy from the ground up, not just in Chicago, but across the nation.

Learn more about the film at

WTTW National Productions